With the Senate tonight passing the legislative package that establishes a single national regulator for offshore petroleum activities the Government has achieved the single most important milestone in its reform agenda for improving safety in the offshore petroleum industry.
The Minister for Resources and Energy said the establishment of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) delivers on a core recommendation of three comprehensive reports into offshore petroleum safety.
“The reports of the Montara Commission of Inquiry, the Productivity Commission and Bills and Agostini all pointed to the need for one national body to have responsibility for regulating offshore activities if we are to improve safety and mitigate the risk of major incidents in the future,” Minister Ferguson said.
“The passage of this package of Bills with the support of all political parties in the federal parliament demonstrates that safety is first and foremost in all our minds. It establishes the legislative basis for the Government to set up NOPSEMA - something we committed to following Montara.
“Industry has supported the Government’s endeavours to strengthen our regulatory framework, as well as taking their own actions individually and collectively to improve safety and I commend them for this.
“Throughout this process we have been working closely with the State and Northern Territory Governments who all share the Commonwealth’s commitment to seeing that Australia’s offshore industry is world’s best when it comes to the protection of workers and the environment.
“I thank the Western Australian Government and Minister Moore in particular for working constructively with the Commonwealth to reach an outcome acceptable to all parties.”
The Bills will now go back to the House of Representatives for final passage prior to receiving royal assent.
The Government aims to have NOPSEMA and the National Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) operational by 1 January 2012.